The Delicate Balance

Hiya friends, welcome back. Sorry that you got two posts so close together, but oh man it’s been an interesting couple of days. So, Hobbs came home sick yesterday, and he ended up staying home from work today too. I also said that, at times, my anxiety extends past me being sick and onto people I love.

Let me explain.

Charlie BrownBasically when Hobbs gets sick, I absolutely lose it. I’m pretty sure that the way anxiety works makes no fucking sense. The thought process with this is much like the lemon thought process. For instance, take how today went. Hobbs is home sick. What if it’s worse than what I had? That’ll mess with his blood sugar, which means he could end up in the hospital. People die in hospitals. Great! Oh, don’t forget the fact that he clearly caught this from me. It’s my fault he’s sick now, which means it’ll be my fault he ends up in the hospital. Then it’s my fault if anything happens to him.

Seriously, this is a very annoying way to live sometimes.

Logically, I know this isn’t how things work, but again, there really isn’t anything logical about mental illness. I try really hard to remind myself, when I’m off on these worst case scenario jaunts, that what I’m thinking is completely plausible. I mean, they could Normal Timetechnically happen. The chance that it will happen, is very slim, and even if it did, I can’t possibly hold myself responsible for how germs work (those things are evil). I’m pretty sure this won’t make sense to anyone who doesn’t have anxiety, but the reason behind reminding myself that it could happen, is to keep myself from going off on the “You’re a fucking nutter” quest. Basically, it’s to stop the “Yup, I’m crazy” thoughts. Thinking you’re crazy does absolutely nothing to fucking help the situation. It’s better for me to acknowledge the ideas could happen but they probably won’t.

In an attempt to keep my racing thoughts under control, I tried to stay busy today, but Hobbs still heard, “Are you okay?” a million times. To put this in perspective, he probably heard it a thousand times an hour. I ask that question a lot, even when he’s not sick, but it got to the point today where he was answering before I even finished the question. Oops. I’d apologize for it, but, I mean, at least I care, right?

To his credit he doesn’t get all pissy about it anymore. When we first started dating I’d ask constantly, and by the end of our night he would be so frustrated with me that he’d inevitably bite my head off for the last one. It wasn’t until post diagnosis that we both realized what was happening. I was doing what the doctors call “reassurance seeking.” Seriously, that’s a real fucking thing. Basically, it means exactly what it says. When I’m anxious, my brain forces me to ask the same types of questions over. And over. And over. For me this usually manifests in questions like, “Are you okay?” “Is everything okay?” “Do/are you feeling alright?” “Are you upset?” “Did I make you mad?” I can only imagine how annoying it must be to be on the receiving end of these questions, especially when I’m asking them every 15 minutes.

Now, I’m not saying that’s the only way this reassurance thing manifests for me. At the beginning, I would incessantly ask Hobbs if he thought I was crazy, or if he thought I was really sick and it wasn’t just anxiety or panic. I thought this would go away in time, but it’s one of the things I haven’t been able to shake. Please don’t think I’m complaining about this because I’m not. I mean, if this is the worst thing that happens to me when I’m anxious/panicky, I’ll fucking take it. Granted, it’s annoying as shit for Hobbs, but he knows that if he just keeps answering, it helps my brain calm the fuck down and it could also help to cut off a massive panic attack.

The other really annoying thing about this, is that there are times that all the he helpsreassurances in the world can’t fucking stop it. There have been times when Hobbs has gotten sick and I’ve spent all night having one panic attack after another. I feel so fucking bad for Hobbs on those nights. He’s the one who’s sick and yet he spends hours trying to convince me that he’s okay. I’ll say it again for the people in the back, anxiety can be a real asshole sometimes.

One of the good things about this time around, is that I know what he is going through – I literally have first hand knowledge. This knowledge doesn’t stop me from asking him the same stupid question a million times, but at least now I can believe his answers. (Wow, that sounds really bad when I read it back. It’s not that I don’t believe what he tells me, it’s just that the knowing helps it sink into my brain and the Asshole can’t twist it around.)

In humorous, but not entirely unrelated news, we both called our moms on Sunday and told them to stay away, or they’d be leaving with a lot more than just the cards we bought. The reacted completely differently, of course. Mama Hobbs said, “Of course, call me when you feel better.” Mama Biblio threatened the germs to try and take her down. I’m not saying my mom went all Ray Parker Jr., but I definitely had the song from Ghostbusters in my head. (Yup, it’s official, I’m getting better.)

Okay, it’s very late now…well, not really, but I’m still on the mend and I’d like to continue the uphill motion. You guys have got to know the drill by now. There are two numbers at the bottom, the National Suicide Prevention Helpline, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Treatment Referral Helpline, use them if you need them. See you lovely lot tomorrow.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

SAMHSA: 1-800-662-HELP (4357)

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Brace Yourself, The Man Cold Is Coming

Hiya friends, welcome back. So I just realized that I completely forgot to write a post last night for today…oops. I swear, when I’m finally feeling 100%, this will get back to normal. (I also think, somehow, I got all off track and I’m now writing in real time…interesting development.)

Man ColdLet’s see, today was pretty good. I actually did some housework, and finished my homework. Hobbs had to work this morning, but last night I knew that wasn’t going to last long when he looked at me and asked, “Did this *gestures in my general vicinity* start out as a scratchy throat?” In that moment, I knew I was about to have a man baby on my hands. He was home by noon, and within fifteen minutes of walking in, was camped on the couch in his sweats.

Since he’s taken up residence on the couch, I’ve been cleaning and trying to get these germs outta here. The cleaning had two purposes. Remember I mentioned that me being sick caused me some major anxiety? It’s worse when Hobbs is sick. It stems from the same place. Y’know, the idea that getting sick equals dying, at least, I think it does. I mean, I’m no doctor but it’s my best guess. Which means cleaning becomes my focus task, because “a busy body can’t possibly panic”…well, it can but I can usually handle it better. I didn’t get too anxious or panicky today; I mean, there were some blips, but nothing too earth-shattering or meltdown inducing, so I call that a fucking win.

There’s no telling what tomorrow holds, but I’m figuring I should probably get some good sleep tonight, just in case. Which brings me to the end of this post, I Timelessapologize for the brevity but I promised Hobbs we’d watch Timeless tonight.

As usual, below are two numbers, the National Suicide Prevention Helpline, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Treatment Referral Helpline, use them if you need them. See you lovely lot tomorrow.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

SAMHSA: 1-800-662-HELP (4357)

The Worst Day (Or So I Thought)

Hiya friends, welcome back. Well, I’m finally caught up with my class work for this week. It really sucks getting sick, especially when you know you have a shit ton of stuff to do. In related news, I can also report that I am on the mend. I mean, I’m still not feeling amazing, but I’m moving in the right direction at least, so that’s something, right? Oh, and it seems the anxiety and panic have decided to back off a little bit, and that, in itself, is a victory.

All around, it’s been an okay day. I’m currently hovering at a six, but honestly, I can’t really expect anything better right now. This morning was the first morning all week that I didn’t dread the thought of sitting up…so I left the bed and went and sat on the couch. Oh, the excitement. I mean, I’ve been camping out there for the whole week, but today I didn’t drag my pillows and blankets downstairs with me. (In case you’re wondering why I didn’t just stay in bed, we have a dog who constantly needs to go outside. He’s very small, which means a teeny tiny bladder. Being on the couch all day made more sense than having to go up and down stairs a million times.)

Breathing.jpgOnce I was parked on the couch (and Mr. Tiny Bladder was taken care of), I got some homework today, which was amazing. I hate falling behind; without fail I always start freaking out that I’m not going to get everything done in time, and I bet you can guess where that leads (I’ll give you a hint…his name begins with ‘Ass’ and ends with ‘hole’). I even took some time to remember the good old days, back when I could breathe without coughing. Man, I miss that. (See, the shitty humor is coming back; soon all will be right with the world.)

In the midst of all my very important couch thinking, my lovely friend asked me to expand on something from my last post. I had written that having three panic attacks a day was currently a lot for me. So here is my expansion:

When I was first diagnosed, I was having what I now describe as “rolling” days. We’ve talked about this already I think. It’s just constant rolling panic attacks, all day, non-stop. It was fucking terrible, and I absolutely hated every second of it. During these days, I could easily clear ten panic attacks a day, if not more. By the time I fell into bed every night, I felt like I had gone 20 rounds with Muhammad Ali.

Storytime: It’s Thanksgiving, Hobbs and I are due to be at my parents house by 2 PM for the delicious dinner. I woke up feeling a little off, but figured if I took easy all day, I just might be able to make it and no one will ever know. Now, it’s 9:30 AM and I have the first panic attack. At a quarter past ten, there’s another one. Between then and 11:30, I had maybe two more. At 11:30, I have the greatPanic Attack.jpg idea to jump in the shower (I had no idea, at this time, that being too hot would trigger anything). I’m thinking a nice steamy shower will help me relax, because that’s all I need to do, right? Relax. Halfway through the shower, I get out in full. On. Panic. Mode. I can’t breathe, this is the worst one of the day. I open the door and sit on the toilet, just trying to get my breathing to stabilize. There was still conditioner in my hair and shaving cream on my leg. Hobbs looks in and starts to laugh…until he sees my face. Somehow, I calm down, I get back in a colder shower and rinse the conditioner out – the legs are a lost cause at this point, and I didn’t fucking care – I push through the shower and jump out. I can honestly say I don’t recall ever getting dressed as quick as I did that day.

As soon as I was done, I called my mom and told her that I wasn’t feeling well. Being my mom, she saw through the lie and asked what was happening. I told her I just didn’t think I’d be able to do it, I was too…everything. My mom told me it was silly to be freaking out over going to their house, but she said she understood if I stayed home. In my mom’s defense, she didn’t understand what was happening then any better than I did. In the end, I did just that, I flaked – not for the first or the last time – on a family/holiday party. That night had me alternating between playing on the Wii with Hobbs, and pacing the hallway in our apartment. I had about six more panic attacks that night before I finally fell asleep. In that moment, I was positive this would be the worst day I’d ever have. Oh, how naive I was.

After living with anxiety and panic for a little while, I found ways to slow down the attacks. Now, I can go days between having panic attacks. Maybe it’s just because I know how to handle them better now, I’m not really sure. But to go from that, to having three in a day, two days in a row…whew. I was feeling really sensitive and worried that I was backsliding…again. If you know anyone with a mental illness, you know how messed up we get over backsliding. Knowing that it’s a fact of life for us doesn’t make it any easier. Thankfully, I can say I haven’t had one today, so that’s good.

Cuddles.jpgOkay, I don’t mean to end this abruptly but I’m beat, and I just want to go veg out with the Hobbs. I’m sure you all understand.

As usual, there are two numbers down at the bottom, the National Suicide Prevention Helpline, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Treatment Referral Helpline, use them if you need them. See you lovely lot tomorrow.

 

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

SAMHSA: 1-800-662-HELP (4357)

Doozy Days (Two for the Price of One)

Hiya friends, welcome back. Today has been a downright doozy for me, between feeling like absolute shit and dealing with Asshole and a couple panic attacks. If you don’t mind, I’m going to combine yesterday and today into one post. I think this might help me get back on track.

being sickI’ve never been good at being sick. For as long as I can remember, I’ve cried my way through most illnesses. It didn’t really matter if it was something as simple as a cold, I could be found sobbing like a small child. Looking back, I can’t say for certain this wasn’t anxiety, and honestly it would explain a lot, like maybe why I still react this way.

One of my bigger fears, when it comes to my anxiety, is being sick. If I’m being completely truthful, I know my stupid fear is having an effect on me this time around, too. It’s really awkward to write about this, mainly because I don’t tell anyone about this part of my issues, but I have an incredible fear of being sick. I absolutely hate everything about it, I hate throwing up and I will do everything in my power to avoid it. I can’t stand not being able to breathe (now that I write it, I can understand why I don’t like it, being sick is very similar to the symptoms that come with anxiety and panic). I also tend to correlate illness and death. My aunt passed away last month after a battle with the flu. Logically, I can understand the idea that she was older and therefore probably weaker to some degree, which could have played a key role in why she passed away. Logically, I can also understand that this probably isn’t going to happen to me just because I am sick…but I can’t communicate that to my anxiety. It’s a vicious cycle. I can see that it’s quite the leap when I actually write it out, doesn’t change the fact that my brain latches onto it.

Between yesterday and today, I’ve probably averaged about three panic attacks per day, which currently is a lot for me. Generally, these attacks reduce me to a crying mess within seconds of starting. In the logical part of my brain, I know what’s happening: the two halves of the same wholepanic is just piggybacking onto the Asshole and my already worn out body and brain. It’s really easy to spiral for me when I’m like this. If I can’t keep righting myself, it becomes almost easier to allow my brain to find the groove in the broken record and continuously replay that one spot. I also have seen enough therapists to know that, more than just illness, death is a massive issue for me. When I’m sick, in my mind, it puts me closer to that and I just lose it.

The Asshole loves moments like this. He likes when my brain leaves him even a fraction of an inch to wiggle in, because it usually means he can poke and prod until he finds just the right button to push. Once he’s found that, he knows he can win. But he’s also…well, an asshole. He likes to drag out the anxiety. If he can keep me teetering on the brink for an entire day, never really letting the anxiety take over, but just keeping it ramped up and ready, that’s his biggest win. It’s not until Panic decides to join the party that things go topsy turvy.

The cycleMaybe I should take the time to explain that anxiety and panic are two completely separate entities. I know that a lot of people seem to think that they are the same thing, but that isn’t true. I mean, one can cause the other, and they can coexist in the samehabitat, but they are different. The easiest way to explain the difference is that panic happens without any trigger, generally when there really isn’t any perceived danger, and can show up out of nowhere. Anxiety happens because you think there is danger, usually triggered by actual real life situations, and for the most part, you can feel it building before it hits.

I’m only explaining this because sometimes they get confused. I’ll use mine to explain better. Asshole is always around, he’s always lurking in a corner waiting for his moment to shine. He’s also really good at pointing out dangerous things I should watch out for, like always watching my surroundings or the need to know exactly where I am at all times. Panic is like a toddler in a toy store. She comes in, fucks shit up for a few minutes, I tell her ‘no,’ she has a temper tantrum, and then walks out like nothing happened. There is no rhyme or reason to panic attacks. I mean, at least when I’m dealing with the Asshole, he can be reasonable – granted he’s usually not – but he can be.

It’s been a rough couple of days, but I think I’m finally on the mend now. Hopefully, I won’t miss anymore posts this month, but this is all I really have to say today. Plus, I have a lot of catching up to do with homework. You guys know the drill by now, there are two numbers down at the bottom, the National Suicide Prevention Helpline, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Treatment Referral Helpline, use them if you need them. See you lovely lot tomorrow.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

SAMHSA: 1-800-662-HELP (4357)

R&IHiya friends, welcome back. Let’s set the scene, shall we? I am currently laying on the couch, surrounded by tissues, water, cough drops, and inhalers. There is also my homework somewhere under the blankets and pillows. I’ve been alternating between sleeping, watching TV (Rizzoli & Isles, I’m a sucker for crime procedural), working on homework, and reading. To be fair, that list is only happening between bouts of coughing or sneezing.

In the last three days, I have seen two doctors, the first of which diagnosed me with an Upper Respiratory Infection, the second added on Bronchitis. For those wondering, the reason I went to the second one was because my trouble breathing got worse and that tends to give the Asshole just enough wiggle room to turn my life into a recreation of Twister. Good movie, terrible real life.

For some reason, once everything has a name, it helps shut Asshole up. He can’t convince me I’m dying of some unknown disease if I know what I have. Don’t get me wrong, this does not stop him from trying his luck. Like most of the world, I don’t like being sick; unlike most of the world, I have to deal with some of the worst panic attacks I’ve ever had because I’m sick. I have been known to spend nights wide awake when I’m sick, even though I know not sleeping will just make it worse.

The past couple of nights I’ve been fighting with the Asshole, and trying to get better. Honestly, I just keep hoping to wake up and be all better. It hasn’t happened yet, but I’m still holding out for it. Meanwhile, I’m popping cough drops like candy, I’ve gone through an entire box of tissues, my nose hurts, and I sound like I could audition to sing the theme song from Shaft (bring it on, Isaac Hayes). Can ya dig it?

As far as how I’ve been handling things, before today I might have said rather well. I am, however, hitting maximum handling ability, which means tonight will be spent curled up Whinyin bed just trying to keep the Asshole in his place. It’s only 9pm and I’m already debating going upstairs and assuming the position of someone who wishes to wallow in self pity. In case you haven’t guessed yet, I’m a massive baby when I’m sick. I’ve asked my mother if she agrees with this and she says she doesn’t, but I strongly suspect she’s lying to make me feel better in my feeble state.

Okay, I think this is all I have in me tonight. I’m knackered (I’ve also been watching a lot of British television) and my bed sounds really good right now. As usual, there are two numbers down at the bottom, the National Suicide Prevention Helpline, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Treatment Referral Helpline, use them if you need them. See you lovely lot tomorrow.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

SAMHSA: 1-800-662-HELP (4357)

Still Sick, Need Sleep.

Two trips to the doctor in two days. Anxiety and illness are competing at an 8, should be an interesting night. I’ll update you all tomorrow.

Short and Sweet

Hiya friends, welcome back. I hope you don’t mind but this is going to be a short and sweet post. I have generally been writing every night about my day, and then posting the next day. Well, yesterday I woke up feeling a little sick and it got progressively worse by last night, so I made the executive decision to sleep instead of write.

Sunday morning I woke up with a cough, and by last night the cough had morphed into a sore throat and pain in my chest with every cough. Being sick makes the Asshole think it’s play time, so he always find ways to wiggle in. It’s usually by way of trying to convince me that I’m really sick, and might possibly die. I spent a good part of the day just trying to push past feeling shitty – convinced it was allergies – and get some stuff done. Hobbs and I did do the food shopping for the month and I was actually really proud of myself for getting that done at least.

When we got home, I worked on some homework, and then just zoned and played some video games with Hobbs. We were in bed rather early, which is crazy for me, but I definitely needed it. In case you’re wondering, I went to a doctor today because I woke up worse. I have an Upper Respiratory Infection, but I’m on some stuff to help, so here’s to feeling better.

Of course, in typical fashion I had to get sick just as a new term was starting. Which means my life for the foreseeable future is going to be full of the humanities (not my favorite class). Okay, that’s all I really have to say today, and I have a shit ton of homework to do, and medicines to take. I’ll be back tomorrow, hopefully with more to report. As usual below are two numbers, the National Suicide Prevention Helpline, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Treatment Referral Helpline, use them if you need them. See you lovely lot tomorrow.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

SAMHSA: 1-800-662-HELP (4357)